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2016-2017 Out-of-the-Box Planning Thread (Dare I say...with a hint of unschooling?)


Alte Veste Academy

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AVA - You are making me want to just jettison everything. 

 

So, I'm back to write the 'dream plan' for dd#2.

 

She would want to keep up her oil painting lessons with the local artist once per week. Actually, she'd probably want to go twice. Not sure my pocketbook would take that, but if she gets to where she doesn't mind working on her own, I know the artist doesn't mind her working independently at her studio.

 

Her mornings would be spent with audio books & drawing. She'd also work on her children's books. I'd be kept working at least half the day editing them and then doing the insertion of pictures & formatting of them for self-publication. If we're dreaming here, she'd spend her afternoons riding & taking care of a horse. In the evening, she'd work on her hand crafts & other creative things - like the fashion designs that Raifta wrote about her dd. She'd definitely skip math completely if it were up to her.

 

DD#3 would go live with dmmetler & do herpetology with her dd. She'd probably agree to do math there, too. And spend her nights reading.

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This is an example of something out of the box we did aboout 5 or 6 years ago. Our Calvin and Hobbes study. We called it Giggles and Gumshoes because eventually there was supposed to be a series (C&H, Tintin, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot by Agatha Christie). In the end, DS followed his own bunny trails and we didn't use any units as planned but this was the kind of thing I really enjoyed planning out for him.

  • This was at the height of my Sonlight-style scheduling craze so you'll see some similarities. :laugh:
  • Some of it looks a lot like busy work but I had very clear reasons for them, e.g. the diorama and plush doll were to get him to practice fine motor skills, the recipe book was for us to cook together more often, the online poster was to tempt him to learn new presentation technology.
  • The alter ego focus was just because we love analyzing the psychology of characters.
  • All those writing prompts were of course to tempt him to write more (very reluctant writer at the time) but in the end we just talked about them.
  • There is so much good vocabulary in C&H, and we enjoyed picking out words we liked and studying their etymology.

I hope it inspires someone!

 

 

 

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I keep thinking of more interesting opportunities for my oldest dd.  Our local yarn shop does knitting and needle felting classes for homeschoolers usually once a semester.  We also have a local potter who offers classes and another mom who offers more general art classes.  Not sure what if they will have classes this semester.  Starting Friday a priest is offering a class on St. Thomas Aquina's Shorter Summa.  DD is so excited, as she has been itching for deeper religious studies.  She is also in charge of teaching her preschool brother.

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Would you guys be willing to help me brainstorm some out-of-the-box ideas for my to-be 5th grader?  She's a tough nut.  She's picky (selective?) about everything, and has her own ideas, and she's always been this way - from clothes, to food, to books, to everything.  Books are a great example: when she loves something, she reads it over and over again, but she rejects 90% of the books that I bring home or suggest.  She is creative, but she wants to do things her own way - I got her drawing lessons with a local artist, and after awhile she didn't want to continue, because she says her teacher was trying to make her learn things she didn't want to learn, and didn't want to let her do what she wanted to do, which is abstract art.  ("It doesn't have to mean something or represent something. It just is what it is!")

 

So the things that we are doing that she really likes:

-She loves theater/acting, and we have a great youth theater company she participates in

-She loves horses - she does riding lessons every week

-She loves animals - we are studying Sassafras Zoology and reading animal books, she loves this. I was talking to her about what science she wants to do next: nothing. She wants to keep studying animals.  Her current goal is to be a wildlife photographer and travel the world taking pictures of animals.  

-She loves LIttle Passports , the World Edition, which is basically a monthly package in the mail from a different country, a few online games, not very meaty frankly, and definitely not "5th grade level."  We beef it up with books, videos, and cooking projects from the country of the month. She loves this stuff.

-She loves Ranger Rick & National Geographic kids and reads them cover to cover as soon as they arrive

-She loves art, selectively. She likes to color. She likes to create her own abstract drawings with color. She likes things like spirographs. But she has no interest in learning to draw or representational art. The art teacher I hooked her up with was a fail, because she couldn't do just what she wanted to do. She doesn't get that there are skills -drawing etc - that you have to master to be able to do the kind of creative work you want to do, and she isn't really willing at this point to put in the time to build skills.

 

 

What do I do with this child? How do I support and encourage her unique visions and passions and creativity?  Right now, I have a basics must-do list - math, spelling, grammar, writing, typing, cursive.  She does this pretty willingly, it doesn't take a lot of time each day, we do a series of short lessons or practices, CM-style - no 40 minutes a day on grammar like you read in WTM.  We read in history and science and lit.  She likes all that.  She likes MCT Grammar Town/Paragraph Town. She likes living books, and the CM-y things we've done work pretty well.  

 

She wants more hands-on activites, which I'm super bad at.  She wants more field trips.  The main problem with both of those things is time.  I have a consulting business, I'm up early in the morning doing work, I work all day Fridays and often on the weekends.  I work with her all morning on skill subjects and reading, I work in the afternoons with her sister.  In the late afternoon/evening they have their activities - horseback riding and theater rehearsal.  In Morgan's perfect world, we'd do projects and field trips every afternoon. But I can't do that, her sister needs my time then.  

 

I feel totally stuck.  I don't know how to give her what she wants - more activities and projects and field trips - and what I want - more outdoor time and physical activity - and still cover what I feel like we need to in terms of academics.  Shannon will be in high school next year, so I'm feeling the pressure of things ramping up for her. It's not a good time to decide to take a year off to unschool, KWIM?

 

Anyway, Kristina, sorry if I'm derailing your thread, but I am both inspired and depressed by all the posts and would really love some help brainstorming some out of the box things for my girl!  And you guys seem like the people to ask . . . 

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I feel like I am an "amateur expert" on this sort of thing.  Amateur in that I have no idea what I am doing and an expert in that my children seem to learn in spite of me.

 

While I have spent time trying to plan out good things for my children---and spending lots of time pouring over website and catalogs---my children have been outside strolling the fields dressed up like Victorian ladies with parasols and reading stacks of books on British and French royalty.  My boys have disappeared only to be found siphoning water out of mud puddles into tanks and buckets.  One of them found an ASL website and was teaching herself sign language.  Another was picking out songs on the piano whilst having the laptop propped up nearby watching someone else playing the same song on youtube.

 

All that to say, the things that have interested THEM are the the things THEY pursue.  I only provide the time and means for them to do it (sometimes that means keeping some old garden hose around that I would've preferred throwing out!!).  

 

I realize some children need more of a push than others.  Maybe the ones with little vision and ideas need more of push.  At my house, I have had to realize that it wasn't so much ME planning out the "out of the box" things my children were going to do, it was me not minding if they found their own out of the box things to do and being ok with it if they devoted time, money, and a mess to it.

 

One year instead of spending money on curriculum, I should've just handed the money over for Bio-diesel research because that is what my son did anyhow.  He built his own system for making it.  Kid grew up and we still have all that stuff in a shed.  He abandoned the project for some reason.....maybe another kid will use it.  Maybe not.  I am not sure what professional use he gained from the experience.  He is a diesel mechanic these days, so it was just one of many experiments he dabbled in in that line. 

 

Not every tangent has the obvious end goal.  The one that was learning ASL didn't pursue it... and the one with the parasols and Victorian dresses (thankfully!) doesn't still do that.....but she has loved going to London and Paris and stuff as a young adult.  

 

BUT....I really do make my children sit down and learn the more traditional things, too.  You can't really grow up without knowing math and English and how to spell.  It's all a balancing act.

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I was initially the planner but eventually followed the path Colleen suggests above. It really depends on the child. My only wanted me engaged with him in the beginning but gradually learned to engage himself. Children with siblings might be more motivated to do things with their sibs for company.

 

Regarding art I havent looked for a teacher because I didnt want him to have to follow someone else's idea of what art is. I had to be very patient. It was the same with music. We did find teachers for music but they were fails because they kept trying to cram my jazzy kid into a classical mold. It was only after we stumbled upon a jazzy quirky teacher later that I realized this though. I didnt think we would be as lucky with art so I didnt even look.

 

Thankfully that seems to have paid off. He goes off into arty bunny trails often with much more confidence than I did. I was a rule follower and so afraid to experiment because my teachers said this or that. I just make tools available or let him discover what he needs for himself. He has to let me know why product x is more effective than y and if they are within budget. Unless of course x and y are free. He has been drawing graphic/ comic art and designing tshirts this way.

 

Sorry for all the typos. On my phone.

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I feel like I am an "amateur expert" on this sort of thing.  Amateur in that I have no idea what I am doing and an expert in that my children seem to learn in spite of me.

 

While I have spent time trying to plan out good things for my children---and spending lots of time pouring over website and catalogs---my children have been outside strolling the fields dressed up like Victorian ladies with parasols and reading stacks of books on British and French royalty.  My boys have disappeared only to be found siphoning water out of mud puddles into tanks and buckets.  One of them found an ASL website and was teaching herself sign language.  Another was picking out songs on the piano whilst having the laptop propped up nearby watching someone else playing the same song on youtube.

 

All that to say, the things that have interested THEM are the the things THEY pursue.  I only provide the time and means for them to do it (sometimes that means keeping some old garden hose around that I would've preferred throwing out!!).  

 

I realize some children need more of a push than others.  Maybe the ones with little vision and ideas need more of push.  At my house, I have had to realize that it wasn't so much ME planning out the "out of the box" things my children were going to do, it was me not minding if they found their own out of the box things to do and being ok with it if they devoted time, money, and a mess to it.

 

One year instead of spending money on curriculum, I should've just handed the money over for Bio-diesel research because that is what my son did anyhow.  He built his own system for making it.  Kid grew up and we still have all that stuff in a shed.  He abandoned the project for some reason.....maybe another kid will use it.  Maybe not.  I am not sure what professional use he gained from the experience.  He is a diesel mechanic these days, so it was just one of many experiments he dabbled in in that line. 

 

Not every tangent has the obvious end goal.  The one that was learning ASL didn't pursue it... and the one with the parasols and Victorian dresses (thankfully!) doesn't still do that.....but she has loved going to London and Paris and stuff as a young adult.  

 

BUT....I really do make my children sit down and learn the more traditional things, too.  You can't really grow up without knowing math and English and how to spell.  It's all a balancing act.

 

Definitely!

 

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Would you guys be willing to help me brainstorm some out-of-the-box ideas for my to-be 5th grader?  

 . . 

 

Hi Rose,

 

I only have a sec, but I wanted to share some ideas.  A few yrs ago, my dd was a horse fanatic.  I started to put together a study built around horses and it was pretty easy to do.  I was inspired by a link someone posted about an exhibit in KY about how horses influenced the history of the world.  This is not the same link, but a quick look makes me think the info is similar: https://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/news_and_press/press_releases/2012/the_horse.aspx (Think: Alexander the Great and his love for  Bucephalus.  Trail for history.   :) )

 

There are programs for youth veterinary science.  I did quick google and found this link: 

http://www.equisearch.com/discoverhorses/for-kids

 

(Kids who love animals and science can start preparing for animal health careers as early as eight years old via an online veterinary science curriculum) 

http://www.equisearch.com/discoverhorses/article/new-veterinary-assistant-materials-may-give-kids-early-start-animal-health-careers-html

 

Literature would be a breeze!

 

(Beautiful Feet has a horse curriculum, but when I looked at it, it didn't fit my needs.)  FWIW, dd changed her mind before I finished the plans.   ;)

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Go Wwoofing!

 

 

But since there would be repercussions, we're not. The most out of the box thing we're doing is learning about edible weeds. It's cheap, anyway.

 

Oh my gosh! I had to look that up and I'm so glad I did. How cool is that?!?! Very cool! But the edible weeds study is cool too...not to mention potentially life-saving if lost in the wild. :D

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The comment about the worth of even accomplishing 25% of the out-of-the-box plans is so good for me right now. This school year we had elaborate plans that haven't quite happened the way we expected... We have a 13 month old in tow, so we'd planned on core schooling afternoons and making mornings all fun school. Made some beautiful schedule and pin boards and all... Monday was supposed to be "Farm School" where we went and shadowed/helped a local urban farming family we know in preparation for buying an acerage (which we are in contract on now!!). Tuesday was "School of the Spirit" which is hard to explain... Basically we paint and color and worship and talk extensively about random musings like what "Love is patient" actually looks like in real life, for us. Wednesday was "Nature study" in a more formal way including journaling and oldest working on her herbarium. Thursday was "Outdoor Survival" (in the woods behind or house) which all three are kind of obsessed with, led by DS9. He is quite the expert on edible plants and grubs, how many calories each will give, the best places to build shelters, etc. Friday was indoor baking (recent mini obsession with Great British Baking Show) and crafting (working on colonial cross stitched Sampler to go with American History).

 

Well, we ended up traveling extensively with dh for work and rarely being home, and even to say it's happened 25% of the time would be an exaggeration... But it has happened! And for that, I guess we can celebrate :-)

 

I'm glad about the bolded, especially because when I posted my plans on this thread, I still can't help but notice that our mornings are still pretty traditional. :lol:

 

Your days sound amazing! What truly lovely ideas you have! And yeah, it's ok if it doesn't happen as often as we'd like. At least we make it happen at all. :)

 

I absolutely can't imagine schooling with a little one. Next year, my kids will all be in double digits, 10, 12, and 13. That definitely makes this easier.  

 

On the "dreaming" side, I've often considered and semi planned on taking a semester off formal studies to really focus on habits, hygiene, social thinking, and self-regulation with DS9. Oh how he needs work in those areas, while academics come too easy... Perhaps it's still a possibility.

 

You know, I did a purposeful study of this with DS13 a while back, and we continue it even now. I will sometimes just put on his checklist now, "See Mom." Then he comes to me about whatever it is and we do a little mini-lesson in something important. 25% again, I guess. :)

 

I can't stop thinking about this thread and dreaming for my kids! 

 

So now I'm thinking there needs to be some kind of homeschool dream specialist that takes your kiddos strengths/goals/desires and explores how to implement them into some amazing out-of-the-box school plan! Anyone want to be the forerunner? Help me dream for my kids and I'll help you dream for yours? 

 

DD11 lives for reading, French, baking, crafting, art, and horses... BUT she's really gifted at math/logic/engineering as well. Ha! How to tie those all together? Or maybe just focus on a few every year? I know next year she'll take a high school French course online and keep working with her tutor to grow her fluency... 

 

DS9 loves history, nonfiction, the outdoors, and is a natural entrepreneur. Last year at private school, he started his own football league, made all the posters, fundraised by selling fruit snacks to kids at break, bought jerseys, recruited players and coaches, created the official rules... We even ended up making football cards with each boys' stats and photo :-). How can I utilize these skills for school? There must be a way! Maybe spend the semester working on building a home business, like a poster mentioned above? 

 

DD7 is LOVES other cultures and wants to be a doctor/missionary. We just found out she's dyslexic, so academics have been more difficult for her than her older siblings, but she is sooo determined and hard working. She also has incredibly good fine motor skills and athleticism. Would a year of studying human anatomy and world missions be in order? 

 

I agree with the above too, LOVING hearing all your thoughts!

 

I would love that career! It would be perfect for me! Unfortunately, I doubt it would pay well. :D I will think on yours and on Rose's DD and respond back later. DH is going to text me any  minute to pick him up after having been gone a week, so I'm going to run out of response time for a while...

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Sorry about the enormous multi quoting! I'm going to run out of response time! And my migraine finally went away too...

 

Your DS13 can create a course on Udemy and maybe earn some money. Has to be 13 years old and above. My DS11 was asking me how he can be a tutor.

 

I am definitely going to look into this! Thanks! 

 

Most of our out-of-the box learning is not going to be related to school.  We'll be planting our first large garden this summer.  Oldest dd is buying chickens and will sell the eggs.  We'll continue to identify the plants on our new property and start using some for eating, medicine, etc.  Oldest dd will be moving on from the saint biographies and catechism series we've been using to reading books by the saints and other adult resources.

 

So jealous. We've moved twice since we did some major gardening in the home we own and lived in 7 years. I dream of a homestead, urban or otherwise. 

 

I've decided to box up my Rod and Staff and Abeka science books.  I have always kept them around as a crutch....just in case.  If I buy anything for science next year it will be things like Human Body models to put together or those Engino kits or Snap Circuits.  That and books like you'd find on the guesthollow.com list.  We have been DOING things (like working on small engines) and reading living books.

 

Language Arts is becoming copywork, dictation, narration with a year of Easy Grammar thrown in there at some point.

 

Math for my youngers is looking more and more Montessori/manipulative based.  

 

My teens are involved (always have been) in home businesses.  Right now they are trying to figure out if they have a future in storage shed building.  They have one storage shed and two buyers.   :lol:

 

There are some other things on the burner that they're working on.

 

I think I am skipping buying much next year except for what I mentioned above and maybe another Kindle to read/listen to books.  I've been picking classics we never get around to reading for them to listen to....and then if there is a movie version, I let them watch it after they listen to the book.  I never make them "study" the books but they come away with an amazing amount of knowledge about the stories.

 

Oh, I still have almost all of my crutches in cabinets. Luckily, I have several bookshelves with cabinet door bottoms to hide my backup plans. :lol: 

 

What a great topic!  I know I want to find DS6 a penpal.  I want to keep following all of your amazing ideas.  I would love for Robby to get a chance to work on a long term project with a mentor.  He was working on his business plan to sell t-shirts, but my husband had another idea that Robby was very excited about.  Both might get accomplished, but they will definitely take time.  

 

I wish we could find a mentor. We are going to be moving again in about 6 months, and we don't even know where. Eeeeek. Yes to taking time. All the things my kids dream about doing take tons of time!

 

So far at my house, my boys (especially....I do have girls, too) are the hands-on ones who will be fixing your transmission and your diesel trucks.  They're the ones who will be selling you a lawn mower when you need one....and fixing yours when it breaks.  I just have those sorts of children.  

 

It has been working well to let them totally develop those "out of the box" talents.  The repercussions have been phenomenally GOOD.   :)

 

DH has an old classic car that they were working on rebuilding, but it's in storage now. I dream of the day we can take it out of storage again and make it the biggest best project ever! Such learning in old-fashioned mechanics! And yes, DD will help too. Her nickname is Princess Tomboy. ;) DS13 has books and tools for bicycle repair and fixes bikes for the neighborhood kids. No charge though. He's just proud. 

 

Since it is just a theoretical question, let's dream that I only have one kid - eldest. I'd let her drop everything except foreign language & math. I'd strew math books of all types & help her with whatever fancy she had for that for whatever amount of time each day. We'd do EdX courses together for Italian and Czech (if we could fine one). I'd teach her French and we'd learn Greek together. She'd read all she wanted in her free time. She'd learn programming from whatever we could find that she's interested in. She'd research & write on whatever topics in Country Music that she was interested in. (Okay, that last part would be pure fantasy on my part. She'd spend hours on Country Music, but never would a pen touch paper. She hates writing.)

 

She would love it & we'd both learn a ton.

 

That sounds fantastic. This is how I always dream summers will be too, and they kind of sort of are, but with too many video games and friends clamoring about. I long for a productive low hum...or better yet, productive silence. :lol: 

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Ok, I'm guessing mine won't look too out of the box either, but they sure feel that way.

 

I watched this Julie B. periscope last night (And I've seriously been, well I was going to say a bad word but instead I'll say "recommending," this poor woman out all over these boards.  I'm sorry but she's speaking directly to ME, I can't help but share. ) https://katch.me/BraveWriter/v/79dc0b3e-2282-32fe-8c4d-209e1fc37adb

 

When she said her boys were  "just ready to be turned loose," it was like YEEEEEESSSSSSSS! Preach it to me!

 

I'm starting to GET what my son needs, and it's not what *I* want!  :lol:   But! What do I want?  I want for him to be happy and fulfilled and it does not look like I dreamed it would.  I am ACCEPTING this.  Whoa.  WHOA. :hurray:

 

He's been working really hard on a DJ project.  He doesn't know if he wants to perform yet, but he's INTO it, and I'm letting him loose.  What we will be starting next week, and continuing on next year, is a morning basket/meeting sort of thing, some grammar, math and Spanish, and then, "Go kid, be curious, figure stuff out!"

 

Our morning basket for this year will have:

- our current read aloud

- poetry (also poetry tea times, die hard Julie B fans here.)

- idioms

- random history books, I'll prob read SOTW to the youngers

- geography in some capacity?  something fun, maybe a fact a day type of thing?  still looking.

 

Older DS will probably do Counting Coconuts, MCT Lit level, SYRWTL Spanish, and some free writing, along with his projects.

 

Youngers will be doing Jot it Down, Miquon and lots of time outside.

 

 

That's the least I've ever planned!  Love reading everyone else's plans! :lurk5:

 

That is awesome! I love that feeling! And "the least I've ever planned" has a very attractive ring to it! For real! That's how I feel about our traditional mornings this year, and the "planning" for their projects is just plain fun! 

 

:hurray: This was me too. What he wants is not what I want. But once I embraced what he wanted and needed, I just couldn't look back anymore. It's so much more meaningful and feels so right!

 

We went crazy over this idiom book by Jag Bhalla. It's hilarious. Your son might love it (but it's not age appropriate on every page).

 

Really sparked some interesting discussions and we were also doing Excavating English at the time and had also just started on our linguistics fixation through NACLO so it was all so very, very fun for a while, talking about the origins of languages, English words and English and international idioms.

 

Fun book! What they want is not what I want. True. 

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Chrysalis Academy - I think we should just get our DDs together and let them hash it out.  

 

But seriously, one thing that has been surprisingly working well for us this year in terms of art is Drawing Lab for Kids  I thought DD would hate it because she also is often not happy about being told what to do with her art, and I was sure DS would hate it because he refused to so much as touch a pen/pencil/writing implement of any kind until a few months ago.  However, it has worked well.  I got very nice sketch pads for all 3 of us, and we all do it together.  I think having me participating (I know, I know, more things that involve you) has really been key.  They don't take long.  We do about one lab a week, sometimes two.  And then they tend to inspire DD to try out things that she would never have done otherwise. 

 

Something else I'm looking into into is the Handbook of Nature Study.  

 

Aside from that, we have moved to a 5 weeks on/1 week off schedule but that week off is devoted to projects.  And in December we did math every day but devoted week 1 to baking, week 2 to crafting/making gifts, week 3 to working on Girl Guide badges and week 4 to enjoying our Christmas gifts.  We are actually about to take a 2 week break, which is unusual, but I figure we took a 4 week break last year in Feb without anyone getting behind.  During this two weeks, we are each picking 3 of the science project/craft project/other project type things we want to complete and working on them.  

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Ok..here goes....

 

6th grader currently does math and spelling. The rest, he does as he wishes. He has a lot of interests. He loves the show How the States Got Their Shapes. And he loves Parks and Rec. This has led to discussions on how the government works. It has been great!

 

8th grader prefers more structure. He is doing Latin, from books he picked (Memoria Press), Geometry now and Algebra 2 in the fall, Outsourced history and lit. Science did not work out so we will do something in the summer in a block kind of schedule. So really, it is the younger one who is largely "unschooling" or "child led schooling."

Interesting! This post together with Lisa's post below...

 

Another thing that is out of the box that we are doing right now is that my 6th grade dd knows my expectations for the week but she can do them at her own pace. This means that some days she'll do two days worth of work on one day so she can have the next day free to pursue her interests (mostly baking, crafts, art, reading, and writing). Or she'll do all of one subject in a day and not have to do it for the rest of the week. It has made her more motivated to get her work done and she has more time to do the things she wants to do.

...makes me think! DS13 is the one who loves more order and a schedule. I think DD would really benefit from a mix of Janeway's and Lisa's 6th graders' expectations/freedom. I give her a daily checklist, but she would probably be much more inspired by a weekly schedule and the control over her own ability to open up swaths of time!

 

If we were to just do things without any concern for future expectations I think our days would look as follows:

 

DD's dream year - would work on her fashion designs. She loves to design clothes on paper and make things (handsewing and machine sewing) and moving from designing things to actually producing those things would be delightful for her. She would also like to do more cooking and baking and spend a couple of hours a day drawing, sketching and painting, a couple of hours a day reading, a couple of hours a day writing (anything from poems to comics to novels to letters to opinion pieces). She would also like to spend a lot of time on the trampoline, a lot of time hiking and biking and swimming. Continue with piano, Girl Guides, pottery, art classes and possibly horseback riding. Would like to spend a couple of months in the winter travelling to the west coast to visit family and friends.

 

DS's dream year - would find a mentor and would start working in the field on scientific endeavours relating to frogs, snakes, small mammals, insects etc. He would also like to find our more about evolution, create his own science experiments and wonder about nature and weather. He would love to read, try pottery, swim, bike, hike and trampoline. Would also like to travel to the west coast in the winter to visit family and friends. Would like to learn to whittle. Would like to learn some outdoor survival skills and how to set things on fire.

 

I notice that math and grammar are nowhere on their dream lists.

 

Just writing it down, I think it would be absolutely awesome to just do this next year. Skip all the things I wrote down in the 4th and 5th grade planning threads, and just do the above.

 

Although I might still make them do math. I can't help it. I need a plan. I need boxes to check. I just can't let it all go.

Those dream years are lovely! I can't let it all go either. But honestly, I don't think I should. I think kids need balance. I want my kids to leave our homeschool with strong math, reading, writing, and speaking skills. I want them to get cultural references and to have a basic understanding of important ideas in history, science, and current events. AND I want them to be passionate pursuers of their own individual interests.

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Oh, good thread, this is the kind of thread I meant to start but me with my rambling always end up turning discussions I want to have into monologues...

 

This is how I felt as well posting my plans- as a chunk of what we do looks entirely normal but that is a fraction of our day and not our big focus. 

 

Our out of the box work, let's see dd is an aspiring baker and seamstress. She has weekly sewing classes and the teacher is phenomenal. My dd just loves talking to the old ladies that come in and they all love seeing her handiwork. The classes are at the local sewing and quilting shop. I wasn't really looking for it but it has been such a great opportunity. Her first aspiration was to have a baking shop, she's had some ideas taking it further than just doing all our baking here but we've not been able to make them come to fruition yet anyway I bought her a new baking book for Christmas and there is some thought of maybe trying to start to sell at the Farmer's Market but we have recipe testing and such to work on for that- we'll see how that progresses. 

 

My son is Mr. Laidback his big interest are Scouts, TKD and Robotics. Robotics generally consumes the Fall. For Scouts he has started Merit badge work but there is no particular plan so far, right now he is working on his cooking badge. He has to do all this work on meal planning, budgeting and cooking, it is crazy involved. I'm not sure what he will work on next. So his project time is generally practicing TKD, merit badge work, robotics or reading. Oh, and him and dh have also started D and D together, they have a weekly game night at the local game shop so he has been studying up on this as well(they actually have D&D textbooks, seriously). He is my in house techy- I make him figure things out for me when I'm too busy(ahem) lazy to do so myself. I've thought about some classes for him. (we're making sure to cover the full range of geekdom)

 

My 2 youngest daughters are in the prime time of imaginative play right now and join in with everything. My 6yo does some hand-sewing and they are talking about having some classes for the younger ones. 

 

My big focus is the great outdoors- edible plants, identification of local plants and animals and just being outside and taking advantage of various activities of the local nature centers. I'm working on educating myself and we are spending as much time as possible outside. I think there is something about being outside that is necessary for us, like the myriad of vitamins we get from various foods we just don't understand the depth of enrichment from nature- I think it is healing and life affirming.

 

My other big focus is physical fitness I'm training in Aerial Silks (among other things- I love all things circus) and we have lots of family fitness times. Ds is crazy strong, dd1 is crazy flexible. Anyway, so we all work on various skills together- handstands, backbends, acrobatics, etc. Ds is an aspiring parkour enthusiast- I've been researching plans for various things to build but as of now we look for things to climb and such and generally serve as a bad example at the playground :)

 

Curriculum wise I'm most excited about Cover Story for ds- I don't know that we will follow it exactly but I'm happy to have the framework to have ds explore creative writing (which he seems to love). Dd1 is a git-r-done girl with her curriculum- she will be continuing with her Horizons math, Rod and Staff Spelling and adding in Treasured Conversations next year- she is a speedy and generally independent worker and likes things that are straight forward. Ds is starting to blossom with some independence, loving checklists and is a big time reader so I'm excited to do BYL Gr. 7 with him. He is picking up speed too but I'm not adding on to his list too much. We are also continuing some group study time, continuing our cultural studies around the world, poetry study, lit and all our nature study work. TBH dd1 can do her seat work in a couple hours at most, ds is about 3 hrs maybe, and dd2 about 1 hr.

Once again I think of what good friends our kids would be! My older DS and DD have similar interests to your older two. (DD recommends the Butter cookbooks for baking. Ridiculously decadent and amazing!)

 

I completely agree about outdoor time. When my kids seem out of sorts, the first fix is to get outside. It is healing. And water. Whenever we can be near water, we take the opportunity.

 

I am awed by your hobby of aerial silks. I am a big ol' chicken! I'm more of a reader, quilter, cook...ground-based hobbies! ;)

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AVA - You are making me want to just jettison everything.

 

So, I'm back to write the 'dream plan' for dd#2.

 

She would want to keep up her oil painting lessons with the local artist once per week. Actually, she'd probably want to go twice. Not sure my pocketbook would take that, but if she gets to where she doesn't mind working on her own, I know the artist doesn't mind her working independently at her studio.

 

Her mornings would be spent with audio books & drawing. She'd also work on her children's books. I'd be kept working at least half the day editing them and then doing the insertion of pictures & formatting of them for self-publication. If we're dreaming here, she'd spend her afternoons riding & taking care of a horse. In the evening, she'd work on her hand crafts & other creative things - like the fashion designs that Raifta wrote about her dd. She'd definitely skip math completely if it were up to her.

 

DD#3 would go live with dmmetler & do herpetology with her dd. She'd probably agree to do math there, too. And spend her nights reading.

The dreams are fun, aren't they? For your DD2, I will recommend Adobe Creative Cloud apps. There are tutorials for most of them and DD has learned to do her own formatting. She is affronted when I correct it. LOL

 

This is an example of something out of the box we did aboout 5 or 6 years ago. Our Calvin and Hobbes study. We called it Giggles and Gumshoes because eventually there was supposed to be a series (C&H, Tintin, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot by Agatha Christie). In the end, DS followed his own bunny trails and we didn't use any units as planned but this was the kind of thing I really enjoyed planning out for him.

 

  • This was at the height of my Sonlight-style scheduling craze so you'll see some similarities. :laugh:
  • Some of it looks a lot like busy work but I had very clear reasons for them, e.g. the diorama and plush doll were to get him to practice fine motor skills, the recipe book was for us to cook together more often, the online poster was to tempt him to learn new presentation technology.
  • The alter ego focus was just because we love analyzing the psychology of characters.
  • All those writing prompts were of course to tempt him to write more (very reluctant writer at the time) but in the end we just talked about them.
  • There is so much good vocabulary in C&H, and we enjoyed picking out words we liked and studying their etymology.
I hope it inspires someone!

 

attachicon.gifGigglesandGumshoesbyquark.pdf

AVA, sorry about the migraine and I hope you feel better soon. A few other fun things we haven't found time yet to do...

 

The Language Construction Kit

 

Trying to make an actual working comm. device out of this Star Trek badge

 

Kitchen Chemistry by MIT OCW (we started but didn't finish)

Checking all of this out... I am DEFINITELY going to do the C&H study, maybe with DS9. Thanks! And I had (have?!) the Sonlight formatting affliction as well. I like order. It gives me something to rebel against. :lol:

 

I keep thinking of more interesting opportunities for my oldest dd. Our local yarn shop does knitting and needle felting classes for homeschoolers usually once a semester. We also have a local potter who offers classes and another mom who offers more general art classes. Not sure what if they will have classes this semester. Starting Friday a priest is offering a class on St. Thomas Aquina's Shorter Summa. DD is so excited, as she has been itching for deeper religious studies. She is also in charge of teaching her preschool brother.

Oh DD would love all the crafts classes. I really need to look more into outside classes. I feel like a short-timer here though. :(

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This post together with Lisa's post below...

 

 

...makes me think! DS13 is the one who loves more order and a schedule. I think DD would really benefit from a mix of Janeway's and Lisa's 6th graders' expectations/freedom. I give her a daily schedule but she would probably be much more inspired by a weekly schedule and the control over her own ability to open up swaths of time!

 

 

Those dream years are lovely! I can't let it all go either. But honestly, I don't think I should. I think kids need balance. I want my kids to leave our homeschool with strong math, reading, writing, and speaking skills. I want them to get cultural references and to have a basic understanding of important ideas in history, science, and current events. AND I want them to be passionate pursuers of their own individual interests.

 

I really think there is room for both of those!  I'm not too far into this gig, but I'm starting to prioritize more according to what DS 9 wants to learn, and not what TWTM says we need to do. (Not that TWTM is not an excellent way to home school, I think it is!  It's just my kid doesn't and I have to respect that.)

 

In one of the many brave writer scopes Julie talks about this book about how the mind learns, but I unfortunately can't remember the title.  Anyways, there is a quote that says something like, "you cannot separate emotions from cognition, and it's the combo of both that is at the heart of learning."

 

What's the point of hammering Latin into him if he doesn't feel it is important?  I'm sure there are some who have decided there are reasons it's important regardless about how their children feel about it.  That's just not the way I'm going. I do feel there are non-negotiables, but I'm cutting my list drastically. Math, and grammar, along with effective communication skills are my "must haves." Literature and the arts are a huge part of our family culture, so I'm trying to just nurture growth in those areas instead of "requiring work." History and science, I guess I do feel that certain events and ideas are important to know when going out into the world, but I don't think it will be hard to touch on those while still supporting the pursuit of whatever creativity and passion my children are lucky enough to be inspired by.

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I feel like I am an "amateur expert" on this sort of thing. Amateur in that I have no idea what I am doing and an expert in that my children seem to learn in spite of me.

 

While I have spent time trying to plan out good things for my children---and spending lots of time pouring over website and catalogs---my children have been outside strolling the fields dressed up like Victorian ladies with parasols and reading stacks of books on British and French royalty. My boys have disappeared only to be found siphoning water out of mud puddles into tanks and buckets. One of them found an ASL website and was teaching herself sign language. Another was picking out songs on the piano whilst having the laptop propped up nearby watching someone else playing the same song on youtube.

 

All that to say, the things that have interested THEM are the the things THEY pursue. I only provide the time and means for them to do it (sometimes that means keeping some old garden hose around that I would've preferred throwing out!!).

 

I realize some children need more of a push than others. Maybe the ones with little vision and ideas need more of push. At my house, I have had to realize that it wasn't so much ME planning out the "out of the box" things my children were going to do, it was me not minding if they found their own out of the box things to do and being ok with it if they devoted time, money, and a mess to it.

 

One year instead of spending money on curriculum, I should've just handed the money over for Bio-diesel research because that is what my son did anyhow. He built his own system for making it. Kid grew up and we still have all that stuff in a shed. He abandoned the project for some reason.....maybe another kid will use it. Maybe not. I am not sure what professional use he gained from the experience. He is a diesel mechanic these days, so it was just one of many experiments he dabbled in in that line.

 

Not every tangent has the obvious end goal. The one that was learning ASL didn't pursue it... and the one with the parasols and Victorian dresses (thankfully!) doesn't still do that.....but she has loved going to London and Paris and stuff as a young adult.

 

BUT....I really do make my children sit down and learn the more traditional things, too. You can't really grow up without knowing math and English and how to spell. It's all a balancing act.

I agree with everything. Love your kids' self-starting! The bolded is exactly it for me too, more so now than ever. All of the afternoon project, out of the box studies were the kids' ideas, not mine. There is so much value in being able to pursue your own interests (although I will admit a HUGE part of the timing of this is me wishing to woo my kids into choosing to homeschool for high school).

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I agree with everything. Love your kids' self-starting! The bolded is exactly it for me too, more so now than ever. All of the afternoon project, out of the box studies were the kids' ideas, not mine. There is so much value in being able to pursue your own interests (although I will admit a HUGE part of the timing of this is me wishing to woo my kids into choosing to homeschool for high school).

 

You know what is so funny?  I used to be terrified of home schooling high school!  Now I think of all of the possibilities. It's still scary, but in a good way!

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I was initially the planner but eventually followed the path Colleen suggests above. It really depends on the child. My only wanted me engaged with him in the beginning but gradually learned to engage himself. Children with siblings might be more motivated to do things with their sibs for company.

Regarding art I havent looked for a teacher because I didnt want him to have to follow someone else's idea of what art is. I had to be very patient. It was the same with music. We did find teachers for music but they were fails because they kept trying to cram my jazzy kid into a classical mold. It was only after we stumbled upon a jazzy quirky teacher later that I realized this though. I didnt think we would be as lucky with art so I didnt even look.

 

Thankfully that seems to have paid off. He goes off into arty bunny trails often with much more confidence than I did. I was a rule follower and so afraid to experiment because my teachers said this or that. I just make tools available or let him discover what he needs for himself. He has to let me know why product x is more effective than y and if they are within budget. Unless of course x and y are free. He has been drawing graphic/ comic art and designing tshirts this way.

Sorry for all the typos. On my phone.

It's true! I can't tell you how many times I have been confounded looking for requested resources for methods and finding only recipe books for art, music, crafts, etc. My kids want info and techniques that they can use in their own way. They don't want to produce something from start to finish by following instructions.

 

I will say DD has reached a place where she realized that her skills were starting to be limited by her knowledge of specific techniques, so she chose to do sequential lessons. However, she still puts her own spin on it. She will do the lesson as taught, then she uses what she just learned in a project of her own design. When she started with The Virtual Instructor, she did the first acrylic lesson on value and light/shadows, painting a cube. Then she used the skills gained to paint her cat in grayscale.

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In one of the many brave writer scopes Julie talks about this book about how the mind learns, but I unfortunately can't remember the title.  Anyways, there is a quote that says something like, "you cannot separate emotions from cognition, and it's the combo of both that is at the heart of learning."

I agree! I think SWB says something similar. Something about tears and learning don't happen at the same time.

 

You know what is so funny?  I used to be terrified of home schooling high school!  Now I think of all of the possibilities. It's still scary, but in a good way!

I have a genuine belief that it would be easier for me to prepare my kids for college than for high school. Weird but true.

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Thank you for posting this! It is so encouraging and right where I am with my ten year old.

 

It just feels like the more I get out of her way the more she learns. Yes, we spend some time on the traditional stuff, but if I provide time and materials she is off and running. I have had the hardest time trusting this, but finally this year something in me clicked and I realized that while I was fretting over what I should be doing with her, she was busy doing. I try to keep school as short as possible so she can get down to the business of her many projects. I am in constant awe of her. There just aren't enough hours in the day for her to get it all done. 

 

My son, who is seven, tags along with her, and I haven't actually figured out if this will work for him. He doesn't seem as naturally unschooly as my daughter, but I might be wrong about this. It might just be an age thing and my inability to fully let go. 

 

I feel like I am an "amateur expert" on this sort of thing.  Amateur in that I have no idea what I am doing and an expert in that my children seem to learn in spite of me.

 

While I have spent time trying to plan out good things for my children---and spending lots of time pouring over website and catalogs---my children have been outside strolling the fields dressed up like Victorian ladies with parasols and reading stacks of books on British and French royalty.  My boys have disappeared only to be found siphoning water out of mud puddles into tanks and buckets.  One of them found an ASL website and was teaching herself sign language.  Another was picking out songs on the piano whilst having the laptop propped up nearby watching someone else playing the same song on youtube.

 

All that to say, the things that have interested THEM are the the things THEY pursue.  I only provide the time and means for them to do it (sometimes that means keeping some old garden hose around that I would've preferred throwing out!!).  

 

I realize some children need more of a push than others.  Maybe the ones with little vision and ideas need more of push.  At my house, I have had to realize that it wasn't so much ME planning out the "out of the box" things my children were going to do, it was me not minding if they found their own out of the box things to do and being ok with it if they devoted time, money, and a mess to it.

 

One year instead of spending money on curriculum, I should've just handed the money over for Bio-diesel research because that is what my son did anyhow.  He built his own system for making it.  Kid grew up and we still have all that stuff in a shed.  He abandoned the project for some reason.....maybe another kid will use it.  Maybe not.  I am not sure what professional use he gained from the experience.  He is a diesel mechanic these days, so it was just one of many experiments he dabbled in in that line. 

 

Not every tangent has the obvious end goal.  The one that was learning ASL didn't pursue it... and the one with the parasols and Victorian dresses (thankfully!) doesn't still do that.....but she has loved going to London and Paris and stuff as a young adult.  

 

BUT....I really do make my children sit down and learn the more traditional things, too.  You can't really grow up without knowing math and English and how to spell.  It's all a balancing act.

 

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Another out of the box example....

 

I was at a thrift store earlier and found some Let's Read and Find Out science books that I snagged for fifty cents a piece. I brought them home and my little boys immediately began looking through them, asking questions and then went on to watch a couple Magic Schoolbus videos on youtube.

 

I wasn't "planning" to teach about dolphins or the human stomach today....but we learned a bit about both anyhow. We have a couple of these fun little science books, but I am not going to create a curriculum to use them. We will read them and when we aren't interested in them any more I will stick them away for another time or for someone else to read later.

 

So, it isn't all just what the kids want to learn, it is partly being somewhat in tune to capitalizing on learning opportunities as they happen....even *creating* opportunities. I probably am really sensitive to creating learning situations because I know I don't have as traditional an outline as some do and I would hate to miss something. (We do read through Apologia Elementary books regularly, btw.)

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Once again I think of what good friends our kids would be! My older DS and DD have similar interests to your older two. (DD recommends the Butter cookbooks for baking. Ridiculously decadent and amazing!)

 

I completely agree about outdoor time. When my kids seem out of sorts, the first fix is to get outside. It is healing. And water. Whenever we can be near water, we take the opportunity.

 

I am awed by your hobby of aerial silks. I am a big ol' chicken! I'm more of a reader, quilter, cook...ground-based hobbies! ;)

Thanks for the rec, we are gf here so our new cookbook we are working from is from ATK.

 

I like reading and cooking too. If there were cooking classes around here I'd be on that in a minute. I've thought about asking a chef around here for some mentor time but then again right now I don't really have free time I'm willing to give up. On the Silks- I kind of have a fear of heights but certain things don't scare me. I've always wanted to do something graceful and athletic and I fell in love. I also decided to work on my perfectionism by trying really hard things and keep going with it, even when it seems downright impossible. My other quest was to try all the fun stuff and that I wouldn't let my age stop me.

 

I think like my hobby of Silks we need to remember that everything the kids do doesn't have to be practical or educational, part of it is just finding themselves, or having fun. We don't have to make it educational. I've been such a practical person I'm happy to let go of some practicality I think it can be easy to want the kids to have "educational" hobbies to help with our own legitimacy as hs parents (at least I know for myself) but it is ok if they just do stuff. 

 

On the schooling as well as I said my oldest daughter is a get r' done kind of girl it was hard for me to adjust to this, her being drawn to material I thought would be boring or just not as good but some kids are like that. It isn't always the goal to mix the hobbies and interests into school- some kids just don't like that- they want their stuff to be left alone. So, my daughter is a fast worker and goes through her work- she hits the requirements that I have, there is no sense in adding on just because it is not taking enough time. She values her free time greatly- as do I. 

 

Like many here I don't have a specific plan- I think it can be hard to do that because things can change. In Jan it was space exploration and rockets here for ds- that wasn't on my plan but we did a crash course and went with it. Right now he is working on cooking, who knows what is coming up next. He has been asking for a book club for ages so I put out an invite last week- now I've got to work on getting that all planned and ready. My 6yo is all into hand-sewing right now- she's been working on a pillow for awhile- need to be looking for some new projects for her. My xanthum gum finally arrives today for dd1 so we can start our baking projects to test for selling at the Farmer's Market.

 

Anyway, loving the convo. I feel like my big job now is to keep an ear out for opportunities and to just be there for support, help, getting supplies and making time and space for them to go after these things. It is so nice to let them have that luxury of time.

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I think like my hobby of Silks we need to remember that everything the kids do doesn't have to be practical or educational, part of it is just finding themselves, or having fun. We don't have to make it educational. I've been such a practical person I'm happy to let go of some practicality I think it can be easy to want the kids to have "educational" hobbies to help with our own legitimacy as hs parents (at least I know for myself) but it is ok if they just do stuff. 

 

 

This.

 

I really felt so liberated when I let go of feeling like everything we did had to have some grand meaning, had to be quantifiable, or even that it had to be completed. There is so much in just letting the kids come up with ideas, gather materials, have the project grow or shrink, make a mess (so much mess!), clean it up, fail, succeed.  

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Would you guys be willing to help me brainstorm some out-of-the-box ideas for my to-be 5th grader?

So the things that we are doing that she really likes:

-She loves theater/acting, and we have a great youth theater company she participates in

-She loves horses - she does riding lessons every week

-She loves animals - we are studying Sassafras Zoology and reading animal books, she loves this. I was talking to her about what science she wants to do next: nothing. She wants to keep studying animals. Her current goal is to be a wildlife photographer and travel the world taking pictures of animals.

-She loves LIttle Passports , the World Edition, which is basically a monthly package in the mail from a different country, a few online games, not very meaty frankly, and definitely not "5th grade level." We beef it up with books, videos, and cooking projects from the country of the month. She loves this stuff.

-She loves Ranger Rick & National Geographic kids and reads them cover to cover as soon as they arrive

 

I feel totally stuck. I don't know how to give her what she wants - more activities and projects and field trips - and what I want - more outdoor time and physical activity . . .

I haven't read on so I'm not sure what others have suggested but here are my thoughts:

 

-Definitely tune in to the wildlife photography aspirations! If you can't go on field trips to see the wildlife then maybe you can take some steps to bring more wildlife to you? She could create a window birdfeeder, plant a small butterfly garden, take care of outdoor rabbits, indoor reptiles, etc. She could also arrive at horseback riding lessons a bit early and take photos of the horses every week. If she's willing to take a photography class, great, and if not there are plenty of tips and tricks online or she can just learned she goes! Then she could spend the year creating some kind of major project based around her photographs. She could make a blog, or design a professional portfolio either digitally or in print. I also just read a post about nature journaling with photographs instead of always drawing. She might enjoy that too! You could tie her zoological studies in with this as well.

 

-she might also enjoy making an interactive geography notebook to go a bit more in depth in that area. A couple years ago we did a geography year, and my oldest used a large blank art notebook to freehand draw/write about each country we studied. She can also cut and paste from photographs/magazines as well.

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I feel like I am an "amateur expert" on this sort of thing. Amateur in that I have no idea what I am doing and an expert in that my children seem to learn in spite of me.

 

While I have spent time trying to plan out good things for my children---and spending lots of time pouring over website and catalogs---my children have been outside strolling the fields dressed up like Victorian ladies with parasols and reading stacks of books on British and French royalty. My boys have disappeared only to be found siphoning water out of mud puddles into tanks and buckets. One of them found an ASL website and was teaching herself sign language. Another was picking out songs on the piano whilst having the laptop propped up nearby watching someone else playing the same song on youtube.

 

All that to say, the things that have interested THEM are the the things THEY pursue. I only provide the time and means for them to do it (sometimes that means keeping some old garden hose around that I would've preferred throwing out!!).

 

I realize some children need more of a push than others. Maybe the ones with little vision and ideas need more of push. At my house, I have had to realize that it wasn't so much ME planning out the "out of the box" things my children were going to do, it was me not minding if they found their own out of the box things to do and being ok with it if they devoted time, money, and a mess to it.

 

One year instead of spending money on curriculum, I should've just handed the money over for Bio-diesel research because that is what my son did anyhow. He built his own system for making it. Kid grew up and we still have all that stuff in a shed. He abandoned the project for some reason.....maybe another kid will use it. Maybe not. I am not sure what professional use he gained from the experience. He is a diesel mechanic these days, so it was just one of many experiments he dabbled in in that line.

 

Not every tangent has the obvious end goal. The one that was learning ASL didn't pursue it... and the one with the parasols and Victorian dresses (thankfully!) doesn't still do that.....but she has loved going to London and Paris and stuff as a young adult.

 

BUT....I really do make my children sit down and learn the more traditional things, too. You can't really grow up without knowing math and English and how to spell. It's all a balancing act.

This... Sooo good!! Still, since my kiddos are younger they need a bit more of a helping hand seeing their plans become reality. They dream it, but I try to help them bring that dream to life.

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I haven't read on so I'm not sure what others have suggested but here are my thoughts:

 

-Definitely tune in to the wildlife photography aspirations! If you can't go on field trips to see the wildlife then maybe you can take some steps to bring more wildlife to you? She could create a window birdfeeder, plant a small butterfly garden, take care of outdoor rabbits, indoor reptiles, etc. She could also arrive at horseback riding lessons a bit early and take photos of the horses every week. If she's willing to take a photography class, great, and if not there are plenty of tips and tricks online or she can just learned she goes! Then she could spend the year creating some kind of major project based around her photographs. She could make a blog, or design a professional portfolio either digitally or in print. I also just read a post about nature journaling with photographs instead of always drawing. She might enjoy that too! You could tie her zoological studies in with this as well.

 

-she might also enjoy making an interactive geography notebook to go a bit more in depth in that area. A couple years ago we did a geography year, and my oldest used a large blank art notebook to freehand draw/write about each country we studied. She can also cut and paste from photographs/magazines as well.

 

those are great ideas, she would probably enjoy all that stuff.  I need to get her a camera, but I have no idea what to get - any suggestions about a good starter camera? A step up from a cell phone camera?

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those are great ideas, she would probably enjoy all that stuff. I need to get her a camera, but I have no idea what to get - any suggestions about a good starter camera? A step up from a cell phone camera?

I'm no expert, but there is a basic Canon DSLR kit at Costco right now that would be a great "serious beginner" camera.

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those are great ideas, she would probably enjoy all that stuff.  I need to get her a camera, but I have no idea what to get - any suggestions about a good starter camera? A step up from a cell phone camera?

 

If you don't want to go too expensive, then choose any mid-range point and shoot camera and make sure it has a "macro" mode.  This is great for anything you can get close to, like bugs.  :-)  After that, good photography is about composition.  

 

If you want to spend a lot, then get a digital SLR.  :-)  And get a class to learn to use it, because it's a shame to spend that kind of money and still use it like a point and shoot.  lol

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Inspired by this discussion, I gave my kids a choice today - they could either do our traditional schoolwork or DD could work on Girl Guide badges and DS could work on badges in DIY.org

 

Guess which one they chose?

 

Honestly, I think they'll probably get just as much out of working on badges as they would have had we done math/grammar/writing/science/cursive.  Also, I think they'll be able to do a lot of it independently, and I will have to serve more as a resource rather than sitting by their sides the whole time.  

 

Which gives me time to make muffins, sweet potato fries and work on knitting DD's sweater and my sock. 

 

A win-win all around.  I think this is something we might do more often, but probably randomly - like once every two weeks or so.

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Well, speaking of aerial silks, that's probably our unique thing.

 

I have a circus kid. She's an advanced aerialist and just joined a new performance company in January. It's truly taken over our lives. She has 2 group classes on Tuesdays; 1 private and 1 partner lesson on Wednesdays; rehearsals on Friday; 2 classes on Saturday; extra workshops on Saturday; 1 class and rehearsal on Sunday, and I think I am about to add another Monday private. Oh, and I'm about to start a juggling/circus group... Ahem.

 

She does silks, trapeze, lyra, rope, acro, plus other circus things like stilting (including acro stilting), unicycling, juggling, etc... She has 2 sets of stilts, all kinds of circus toys, unicycle, silks in the house, we are probably buying a rig, I'm researching aerial ropes right now... aaaahhh..

 

Suffice to say that if it were up to her, that's all she would do all the time. We've done circus math, circus history, circus science. We've all taken rigging classes (aka circus physics). One of our local instructors is also a physicist and he just started a poi/trigonometry class that she'll join after she completes algebra I.

 

She and I have had private facepainting classes together. I'm setting up a private costume design series; she already makes her own stilt pants but wants to learn to do everything. 

 

Soror, feel free to come hang out with us! 

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Well, speaking of aerial silks, that's probably our unique thing.

 

I have a circus kid. She's an advanced aerialist and just joined a new performance company in January. It's truly taken over our lives. She has 2 group classes on Tuesdays; 1 private and 1 partner lesson on Wednesdays; rehearsals on Friday; 2 classes on Saturday; extra workshops on Saturday; 1 class and rehearsal on Sunday, and I think I am about to add another Monday private. Oh, and I'm about to start a juggling/circus group... Ahem.

 

She does silks, trapeze, lyra, rope, acro, plus other circus things like stilting (including acro stilting), unicycling, juggling, etc... She has 2 sets of stilts, all kinds of circus toys, unicycle, silks in the house, we are probably buying a rig, I'm researching aerial ropes right now... aaaahhh..

 

Suffice to say that if it were up to her, that's all she would do all the time. We've done circus math, circus history, circus science. We've all taken rigging classes (aka circus physics). One of our local instructors is also a physicist and he just started a poi/trigonometry class that she'll join after she completes algebra I.

 

She and I have had private facepainting classes together. I'm setting up a private costume design series; she already makes her own stilt pants but wants to learn to do everything. 

 

Soror, feel free to come hang out with us! 

Okay, I must ask...how does one get started in this?

 

Recently my kids have seemed very interested in unicycling. We saw some in parades last summer and they liked them. And they've been in a handful of picture books recently. They've loved watching youtube videos of unicycles. 

 

I think it'd be good for them, but I wouldn't have a clue how to begin. Help this HS mom at the beginning of this journey out. What would be a logical next step? I'd love to find someone who unicycles, but don't have any clue where to begin. 

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Hmm, my most radical plans for next year are for my 9th-grader-to-be. Gulp! And they are only radical when you compare them to most people's plans, which involve a lot of outsourcing classes, a lot of APs, and a lot of pretty traditional high school at home stuff, from what I can see on the HS board.  So, are you ready? I'm thinking of just, you know . . . doing it ourselves, following the plans in WTM with our own twist, reading the books that seem interesting to us, ramping up the writing, lots of discussion, Great Courses, etc.  But really, increasingly handing over the job of teaching herself to dd, and becoming more and more a discussion partner, paper critiquer, and cheerleader.  She's ready.  So, do I get at least one or two unschooly points?  ;)  :D

 

I know, I know, it's not much for radical - but it feels like it compared to most of the high school plans I'm seeing!

 

I'm eager to see your plans, K! You always inspire me.

Rose, I don't live very far from you and I would love to pick your brain in a couple of years when my youngest gets closer to high school. Ds is enrolling in school next year, but dd may go the distance.

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I think I posted about this elsewhere, but right now my plan for my son (who will be 9 in June) is to do math, copywork, and reading through our (extensive!) personal library.  So, basically as close to unschooling as I can get without having a nervous breakdown.  He will continue to attend a science school one afternoon a week, and will continue his art lessons, and he'll choose whether to continue piano. He's taking acting classes right now, too, which may lead to more of the same next year.  I don't want to make any grand project plans because I'm going to let him decide all that. 

 

My daughter is 5.  My only plans for her are math and reading books and copywork. 

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Well, I only have a young child, and she is very academically oriented overall, so even my out-of-the-box plans feel very low risk. We recently started a system where we choose only four subjects at a time and switch out the subjects every six weeks or so. Of those four subjects, one is always Spanish (by mutual agreement), I choose one other, and DD chooses two. Since we don't plan more than about a session ahead, I have absolutely no idea what next school year will look like.

 

The current session, this has resulted in:

-Spanish

-Chemistry - one of her choices - primarily using Ellen McHenry and a Thames and Kosmos kit

-Art - also her choice - using a big variety of stuff

-Science - my choice - a big mush of odds and ends I had previously planned to do from BFSU and wanted to clear off my list

 

Next session, starting in two weeks, is a five week trip to Honduras for Spanish immersion and won't have any other academics.

 

The session after that, the rough plan is:

-Spanish - mostly with Homeschool Spanish Academy because she's outpacing me

-Botany - her choice - mostly using the ASK Seeds kit and Ellen McHenry

-Math - my choice - back to Beast Academy

-either Typing or MCT Town with an emphasis on paragraph writing - she knows she wants to choose one for this session and one for the summertime session as she really wants to take her first online class next fall and these skills are needed

 

I hadn't heard about Home school academy spanish!  Totally doing this next year!

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Okay, I must ask...how does one get started in this?

 

Recently my kids have seemed very interested in unicycling. We saw some in parades last summer and they liked them. And they've been in a handful of picture books recently. They've loved watching youtube videos of unicycles. 

 

I think it'd be good for them, but I wouldn't have a clue how to begin. Help this HS mom at the beginning of this journey out. What would be a logical next step? I'd love to find someone who unicycles, but don't have any clue where to begin. 

 

Yes! Search your area for:

- circus schools

- aerial dance studios (even if they don't teach unicycle; they'll know where to find those people)

- unicycle clubs

- juggling clubs

 

If you want to PM me and share your basic location, I can see if I know of any. I've sadly researched the heck out of things throughout the US looking for camps, etc.

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I'm trying really hard to move away from the box... or at least get to a rectangular box instead of a square one LOL or maybe a poster tube!!!

 

Next fall we;ll have a 10th grader and a 6th grader at home.

 

Starting with what we're doing,now... we're doing it DIY for the most part, which is already a little different box (I actually didn't get the curriculum in a box! LOL). The only actual curriculums I've purchased are Saxon Algebra and Council for Economic Education's "Financial Fitness for Life".

 

This year we're doing Algebra. And Biology - we're using the Miller & Levine e-textbook and Crash Course videos and our own labs. No real outside guidance! And for English, we bought a workbook for grammar (a general one not a school curriculum) and are doing vocabulary.com lists that go with our literature choices. We've chosen our own literature and are building a "Poem A Week" unit on top of our Literature. And for Social Studies -- we did US Government in the Fall (this is my background as a teacher) and we're doing Economics this semester - we're using a few of the Bluestocking books, the Stossel videos, Crash course videos and a bit of this and that this quarter as an overview of economics. Next quarter we're focusing more on Personal Finance with FFFL. And Russian and Drama through our local Enrichment Group and music (he plays clarinet, taking private lessons and practicing is all right now, he's supposed to start playing with the orchestra at our church this month).

 

But I'm struggling with this all feeling ... long-winded and boxy. I want to do more fun stuff and I want the kids taking more charge! Reading from textbooks for many hours a day is blah and uninspiring.

 

Since I'm bringing home the youngest, too... I want to have them do some things together, just this one year. I want them to get to look back and see this as the year we all learned together; and hopefully find some great common ground and relationship building in the meantime! 

 

The first thing I've decided is - we're moving forward on Science in a little bit different way. I 'discovered' the Big History Project and am in love with it. I'm building my plans for both 6th and 10th grade science around this framework for next year (High schooler can take a more traditional Chemistry class with our co-op Jr year and Physics at CC his senior year). I think the kids are going to be excited about the big picture view, and the variety of subtopics (Cosmology, Astronomy, Geology, Oceanology, Meteorology, Ecology) I'll put this on the High Schooler's transcript as Earth Science :) While we'll do assigned reading it will be less slogging through a textbook and more exploring the topics specifically, KWIM? The older one will have more formal notekeeping, while the younger maintains a sketchbook, for example. I want to do field trips! We can go to the Space Center, the Natural History Museum, National Parks, the Aquarium, etc)

 

We'll also be working on World Geography in parallel... Geography for everyone!  -- we'll study the same regions and both physical and cultural geography.  But I expect we'll go in different individual directions and to different depths within that framework. I'm kind of hoping to have each do in depth research on a different country in the region, then teach the other... or something like that.

 

I also want to work within the frame of the travel we're doing (We're taking the kids to Britain in the Fall) so we'll definitely study the UK in Geography before we travel -- We're definitely doing England and Wales and probably Scotland... so one kid will study England, the other Wales :) in Geography... and they're both going to be reading British Literature. 

 

For Math, the older one will definitely stick with Saxon for Algebra II but I just ordered the MFW lesson plans for Algebra I and I'm hoping they'll give us an opportunity to branch beyond the "Do all 30 problems every day, do the corrections to anything you missed, go over any additional corrections with mom" model we're doing now.

 

 

I don't know what else but I'm trying to plan an overview and a lens to explore. I want it to feel more exploratory.

 

 

OK So now I'm obsessed with the box metaphor -- but what if we KEEP the box but instead it's a Refrigerator box, and we can make it be a pirate ship! or a space station! or a castle????

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I hadn't heard about Home school academy spanish!  Totally doing this next year!

 

I wish I would have done it sooner! I wanted to delay the expense and we were making some progress at home, but in only eight lessons, she has gained more comfort in speaking Spanish than I was ever going to get her to on my own!

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This won't be for next year, but I fully intend to do a "Civil War Intensive" with my boys when we do American History in HS. We'll travel to as many battlefields, reinactments, and such as we can. (have pop-up, will travel!) We'll add plenty of reading and younger DS will probably become a volunteer docent at a site nearby. He also has started collecting items to use as a reinactor. When DS#2 is 14 he'll probably spend a day each work working with our local archaeology department gaining hands-on experience in the field as well as in the lab.

History is his passion and we intend to cover other subjects in the depth needed to pass CLEP tests so he can focus on history and internships in college. (One of the very good choices for majoring in the Civil War/Public History/Historic Preservation has a fantastic CLEP policy. And if he ends up going somewhere else, those subjects still count as fulfilling HS requirements).

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I have been thoroughly enjoying this thread. I've had 2 responses typed out in as many days and the baby has seen to it that they were both lost. He literally shut off my tablet. Maybe it's a sign I'm not worthy to post here. :D

 

I'll have to come back later when I have more time but I just want to say that I love the ideas here and discussion and it takes me back to what we originally envisioned for our kids' education and why we homeschool in the first place.

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It isn't always the goal to mix the hobbies and interests into school- some kids just don't like that- they want their stuff to be left alone. 

 

Like many here I don't have a specific plan- I think it can be hard to do that because things can change.

 

I think these are great points. We don't schoolize all hobbies here either. Some things they do want left alone and others they want considered part of their school day...more like they realize there is educational validity to it and so it should take hours away from other subjects they are doing in school. LOL If that makes sense.

 

The plans we are making right now are for long-term loves. It seems funny in a way to play so far out, but these particular interest aren't going anywhere. It's such a big part of who they are.

 

I'm trying really hard to move away from the box... or at least get to a rectangular box instead of a square one LOL or maybe a poster tube!!!

 

We've chosen our own literature 

 

But I'm struggling with this all feeling ... long-winded and boxy. I want to do more fun stuff and I want the kids taking more charge! Reading from textbooks for many hours a day is blah and uninspiring.

 

Since I'm bringing home the youngest, too... I want to have them do some things together, just this one year. I want them to get to look back and see this as the year we all learned together; and hopefully find some great common ground and relationship building in the meantime! 

 

We'll also be working on World Geography in parallel... Geography for everyone!  -- we'll study the same regions and both physical and cultural geography.  But I expect we'll go in different individual directions and to different depths within that framework. I'm kind of hoping to have each do in depth research on a different country in the region, then teach the other... or something like that.

 

I also want to work within the frame of the travel we're doing (We're taking the kids to Britain in the Fall) so we'll definitely study the UK in Geography before we travel -- We're definitely doing England and Wales and probably Scotland... so one kid will study England, the other Wales :) in Geography... and they're both going to be reading British Literature. 

 

OK So now I'm obsessed with the box metaphor -- but what if we KEEP the box but instead it's a Refrigerator box, and we can make it be a pirate ship! or a space station! or a castle????

 

I read your first sentence and thought a hat box! They're fabulous. :lol: I think your refrigerator box metaphor is perfect though! 

 

I have always thought choosing your own books, spines and supplements, was a huge part of personalizing the homeschool experience. The older my kids get, the more I see it is just as big a privilege in the older years as in the early years. 

 

I think geography is a great subject to work on together! I've had to move away from a lot of shared group content, but that's one I still keep my kids together for most of.

 

Very, very jealous of your trip to Britain! 

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Would you guys be willing to help me brainstorm some out-of-the-box ideas for my to-be 5th grader?  She's a tough nut.  She's picky (selective?) about everything, and has her own ideas, and she's always been this way - from clothes, to food, to books, to everything.  Books are a great example: when she loves something, she reads it over and over again, but she rejects 90% of the books that I bring home or suggest.  She is creative, but she wants to do things her own way - I got her drawing lessons with a local artist, and after awhile she didn't want to continue, because she says her teacher was trying to make her learn things she didn't want to learn, and didn't want to let her do what she wanted to do, which is abstract art.  ("It doesn't have to mean something or represent something. It just is what it is!")

 

So the things that we are doing that she really likes:

-She loves theater/acting, and we have a great youth theater company she participates in

-She loves horses - she does riding lessons every week

-She loves animals - we are studying Sassafras Zoology and reading animal books, she loves this. I was talking to her about what science she wants to do next: nothing. She wants to keep studying animals.  Her current goal is to be a wildlife photographer and travel the world taking pictures of animals.  

-She loves LIttle Passports , the World Edition, which is basically a monthly package in the mail from a different country, a few online games, not very meaty frankly, and definitely not "5th grade level."  We beef it up with books, videos, and cooking projects from the country of the month. She loves this stuff.

-She loves Ranger Rick & National Geographic kids and reads them cover to cover as soon as they arrive

-She loves art, selectively. She likes to color. She likes to create her own abstract drawings with color. She likes things like spirographs. But she has no interest in learning to draw or representational art. The art teacher I hooked her up with was a fail, because she couldn't do just what she wanted to do. She doesn't get that there are skills -drawing etc - that you have to master to be able to do the kind of creative work you want to do, and she isn't really willing at this point to put in the time to build skills.

 

What do I do with this child? How do I support and encourage her unique visions and passions and creativity?  Right now, I have a basics must-do list - math, spelling, grammar, writing, typing, cursive.  She does this pretty willingly, it doesn't take a lot of time each day, we do a series of short lessons or practices, CM-style - no 40 minutes a day on grammar like you read in WTM.  We read in history and science and lit.  She likes all that.  She likes MCT Grammar Town/Paragraph Town. She likes living books, and the CM-y things we've done work pretty well.  

 

She wants more hands-on activites, which I'm super bad at.  She wants more field trips.  The main problem with both of those things is time.  I have a consulting business, I'm up early in the morning doing work, I work all day Fridays and often on the weekends.  I work with her all morning on skill subjects and reading, I work in the afternoons with her sister.  In the late afternoon/evening they have their activities - horseback riding and theater rehearsal.  In Morgan's perfect world, we'd do projects and field trips every afternoon. But I can't do that, her sister needs my time then.  

 

I feel totally stuck.  I don't know how to give her what she wants - more activities and projects and field trips - and what I want - more outdoor time and physical activity - and still cover what I feel like we need to in terms of academics.  Shannon will be in high school next year, so I'm feeling the pressure of things ramping up for her. It's not a good time to decide to take a year off to unschool, KWIM?

 

Anyway, Kristina, sorry if I'm derailing your thread, but I am both inspired and depressed by all the posts and would really love some help brainstorming some out of the box things for my girl!  And you guys seem like the people to ask . . . 

 

I hate to ask the obvious, but what does she say? She sounds just like my DD. Hard to plan for in that way. Very picky and knows herself well, very self-assured...in a good way that will serve her well when she is an adult (I keep reminding myself :lol: ). 

 

Is she a strong reader or no? Maybe instead of you reading history and science to/with her during your morning time, you could assign her that reading for the afternoon and spend the time with her doing hands-on science? I've found I don't have to do so much as supervise and facilitate. 

 

I like Esse Quam Videri's wildlife photography ideas. 

 

I would take her to Barnes and Noble, have her "look inside" on Amazon, etc. I would have her look at curriculum samples to see if anything in particular floats her boat. Sounds like a big geography study with lots of highly visual resources would be great for her. Go to the travel guide section of your library. Seriously! Seriously underutilized resource!!! Honestly, I never found a geography that was exciting enough and hands-on enough for us. Geography can be super fun!

 

Below I'm going to quote some old posts of mine about the geography study we did. I'm wondering if she might like something like that if you propose it to her...or lead her to proposing it to herself. LOL You can figure out a way to include photography, maybe regular trips to the zoo /and or nature areas nearby? 

 

Earlier this week, my kids gave me the perfect idea for our next study of geography. We are going to the Grand Canyon in a couple of months and they have been eagerly looking through every book we can get our hands on, dreaming of what they'll do and see, making lists of what they want to do, bickering over which hotel or campground they think we should stay at. lol.gif They are LOVING the travel guides! I had a little lightbulb moment about this, as someone who has never found a cultural geography curriculum or guide that I like. I want it to be engaging and memorable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It occurred to me that we can do world geography through travel guides. They are readily available at the library, for almost every destination imaginable. They are a sadly untapped resource for this sort of thing, chock full of info about cultural events, local culture, demographics, religion, etc. and web links for museums, hotels, restaurants, national parks, art galleries, music venues, festivals, etc. As soon as the thought hit me, I wondered why I had never thought of this before!

 

So, we will do a virtual world tour, checking out travel guides, videos, books, etc. for our chosen destinations. We will visit web sites for monuments, museums, national parks, etc. I will have the kids plan our trip, hitting every continent and all major countries. I will let them decide if they want to each take responsibility for individual locations or split responsibility for each location.

 

The possibilities are endless! You can cover logistics (order of the trip, what to pack, pricing/picking hotels and restaurants, devising daily touring itineraries, etc.), climate (deciding the best season to visit each country, taking into account climate, weather, holidays, festivals, etc.), sightseeing (landmarks, museums, art, dancing, food, zoos, big cities, small towns, local parks, national parks, nature preserves, local wildlife, etc.), language (using SayHi app to "get around" in different countries)...

 

For every place we visit, we can make a meal from that country and listen to local music through Pandora. I'm even thinking I can teach the kids to Photoshop ourselves into pics of famous places. tongue_smilie.gif

 

I have a slightly older kid, so I've thought about some more challenging add-ons I can give him. I can have him read up on requirements for travel in particular countries (immunization, water quality, physical safety, gender equality issues, etc.), planning for transportation and lodging, calculating routes, keeping the budget and figuring exchange rates, reading about current events in each location, etc. I have also thought about throwing them some obstacles and luck along the way, causing them to adjust. (ex. Your mosquito net has a hole; you have contracted malaria and will experience third world medicine.)

 

While in each country, we can read a bit of history, legends/myths, fiction, info about current famous people/news, etc. For writing, there will be lists, itineraries, travel journals, and postcards/letters. I have also had the on/off thought of having them just pretend to run a travel agency that sells these packages/plans they will produce. We'll see... I'm trying to come up with a scaffold so I can step back and let them run with their plans within my framework.

 

So we did this, and modified it a bit because my kids love any and all imaginative play.

 

Basically, the premise of our geography study is that the kids each run their own travel agency. I pretend to be a seasoned but indecisive traveler who has a hard time picking where to go next. So, once every week or two, I let each of them know I am interested in purchasing a tour package for a particular country/region or a certain type of trip--rainforest trek, beach retreat, African safari, tour of European architecture, Mediterranean cruise, an active vacation (cycling, kayaking, skiing, etc.), wildlife viewing, tour of ancient historic sites, etc. A couple of times, when I really didn't know where I wanted to go, I asked them to surprise me, just nowhere I've already been. Whatever works to cover the globe. The thematic trips are sometimes more complex to plan, but also more fun for DS10 and DD9. I tend to ask DS7 to plan the simpler single country trips. Basically, they do lots of research/reading and produce a proposed itinerary. (I am very liberal about the format; each kid's output needs to be at his/her own level. I have requested lots of samples by mail to inspire them.) Oh, and I travel with my children, so I ask my "travel agents" to provide children's book recommendations to get my kids excited about the trip.  ;) Also, if they can lure me in with a video, they are almost always assured of a sale. 

 

Aside from our own reference materials (atlases, Circling the Globe, Exploring Our World, Kid's Almanac of Geography), we have checked out a few great books from the library to inspire them and give them a head start (What's On in the World...and When, Journeys of a Lifetime, Make the Most of Your Time on Earth, Where to Go When, Great Journeys). If they are really stymied, I hint around until they can think up a start. Their most helpful planning tools (and the most effective covert educational tools) have been travel guides from the library. These are flat out the best geography education a kid could hope to get. They are colorful and chock-full of information. The kids even pick hotels and restaurants for me to dine at! Our favorite guides are always the ones with the most photos (the National Geographic Traveler series is our first choice, followed by DK).

 

I can be very silly with this. Like, I'm not sure if I'd like Thailand. Hmmm. Maybe we should try some Thai food. We check out lots of international cookbooks and try many national dishes here. My library has The Best International Recipe and The Best Recipes in the World, so we use those resources pretty heavily. Almost everything comes from the library. Anyway, if they can woo me with food, all the better.  :D

 

As a final project of sorts, I have considered letting each kid plan a real itinerary for a round the world or cross-country trip, including hotel, car rental, airlines, etc. Not booking them, obviously, LOL, but planning more realistically to learn some valuable life skills. They could also convert currency. We have dabbled in some of the Culture Shock! books from the library to see how cultures have different standards for behavior. I've been trying to find some good appropriate travel writing to read to them too. That is posing a challenge.

 

OK, that's my idea. And I've totally messed up the formatting here, but I have to go so I'm leaving it. :tongue_smilie:

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